The province has announced it is launching a pilot project with North York General Hospital that would give alternate level of care (ALC) hospital patients direct priority access to a long-term care bed to help reduce waitlists and end hallway health care.
“One of the challenges facing our health care system is the length of time hospital patients wait to be discharged to long-term care homes,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “The pilot project is an example of how our government, together with our long-term care partners, is using innovative ideas and modern solutions to help end hallway health care and reduce the long-term care waitlist.”
ALC patients at North York General Hospital who have been waiting for at least 60 days for a long-term care home placement will be eligible for direct access to one of 18 long-term care beds at the hospital’s long-term care facility, Seniors’ Health Centre. This 18-month pilot project addresses the wait times for a growing number of ALC patients — people who no longer require hospital services, but who are still in hospital because their health status prevents them from going home and there is no space in long-term care for them.
“Innovative models like North York General Hospital’s pilot project with Seniors’ Health Centre will directly help reduce wait times by getting more patients in the right care setting faster,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “Supporting collaborative, solution-based projects is part of our government’s comprehensive plan to end hallway health care and build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of the patient.”
For the pilot, North York General Hospital patients will be eligible for up to 10 per cent of long-stay beds at Seniors’ Health Centre, provided they meet specific criteria: they are occupying a bed at the hospital, they have been designated as an alternate level of care patient, they require immediate admission into a long-term care home, and they have been waiting for placement for at least 60 days as an alternate level of care patient.
“The future of health care rests on developing innovative solutions while working together to provide an integrated system of care,” said Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO, North York General Hospital. “Through our long-term care home, Seniors’ Health Centre, North York General is uniquely poised to help patients return to the community as quickly as possible while also improving the efficiency of the health care system. We are very pleased to be leading this pilot and see direct benefits for our patients and their families, as well as the entire community.”
If the pilot success is seen early, the government will consider expanding this approach to other hospitals and long-term care homes in the province.